Next week thousands of members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union are due to strike in defence of their redundancy terms. The UK Government is looking to make up to £500 million of savings by imposing new terms on public and civil servants that would see them lose a third of their redundancy entitlement. This means workers could lose up to £12,000 or a thrid of the value of their redundancy package if they are forced out of a job.
I recently shared a platform with the PCS union’s General Secretary, Mark Serwotka, and Jonathan Edwards, Plaid’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, during the Undeb fringe event at Plaid Cymru’s spring conference. Mark inspired delegates by speaking about the need to protect frontline services and resist the cuts agenda being pushed by the three UK political parties.
The main reason that our public finances are in such a mess is due to the tax-payer funded bank-bailouts that took place to avoid a complete collapse of the financial system. Casino capitalism and greed has led us to this position, yet it will be those who use public services who will be made to pay for the mistakes of the bankers yet again. The poor are being robbed to pay the rich - a reversal of the Robin Hood principle.
The PCS dispute is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to a sustained all-out attack on the public sector and the thousands of loyal workers that keep our services running smoothly and efficiently, often for little more that the minimum wage. As chair of the all party PCS group in the Assembly, I'm urging as many people as possible to support the PCS strike next week. Without civil and public servants, there can be no public services. The stakes are high.